A growing number of couples in New Jersey and around the country are considering prenuptial agreements before marrying. One survey found that 63% of family law attorneys had seen a spike in requests for prenups. This has become more common as people choose to marry later in life. In many cases, both partners have upwardly mobile careers, while many couples have firm beliefs about how they will plan and care for their children. While couples head into marriage expecting the best of their relationship, they may wish to avoid the all-too-common divorce horror stories linked to property division and battles over assets.
Why choose a prenuptial agreement?
Prenuptial agreements developed a bad reputation over the years as a way for wealthy partners to exclude their less-moneyed spouses from a fair divorce settlement. However, properly-prepared prenups provide benefits and assurances to both parties, not only the person with a higher income. They simply allow the couple to decide in advance how they want to handle the division of their assets, rather than going through those negotiations during a divorce or leaving it up to a judge to decide.
Key points when preparing a prenup
Keep in mind that you cannot make an agreement limiting your children’s rights to time with their parents. Prenups that would bar child support, leave a spouse without proper consideration or include unsavory or unconscionable provisions may simply be thrown out by a judge and replaced by a statutory division of assets. In many cases, both parties should be represented by their own attorney when negotiating the prenuptial agreement; failure to do so could also make it unenforceable.
A prenup is not a rushed process, and it is important that the financial facts are on the table when it is signed. If you are considering making an agreement before marrying, a family law attorney may help you to negotiate a fair and durable one.